Fueling accessibility is upgrading at the Olive Branch Airport in part from funds awarded by the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT).
MDOT granted the city of Olive Branch $238,718 in Airport Multimodal Funds for an Aviation Gas Self-Serve fuel system.
The total project cost is proposed at $248,655 with Olive Branch government contributing $9,947.
The airport currently doesn't have self-service fueling capabilities. A proposed above ground 2,000 gallon double wall take system is to be installed.
Olive Branch Mayor Ken Adams said his administration was notified Monday of the funds. The project will further modernize the facility to better operate outside regular business hours.
"Some airports have self-service fuel and some don't," said Adams. "It' something an airport our size needs. We don't always staff the airport on holidays, weekends, or late at night. This system will really let us keep our fuel sales. Those sales are keeping the airport in operations, that and leasing hangar space, are our two biggest commodities. It really also is a good service to those crew members that come in and out at different times. As some global (businesses) operate 24/7, some may land at ten o'clock at night."
The fuel system would use a card reader system similar to a point-of-sale system at a gas station, according to Adams.
"I don't want to say we're like the Jetsons but we're definitely increasing our mobility," Adams laughed.
The project will include "double wall tank, off-loading dispenser; piping; filtering; tubing; fittings; pumps; accessories; supply lines; return lines; vent lines; fueling lines; 24-hour self-serve fuel management system, card reader system and all training required," according to the city of Olive Branch.
The airport currently only has full serve fuel for both Jet-A and AV-Gas, allowing for aircraft only to be fueled during regular operating hours. The fueling tank will be refilled routinely by fueling trucks that won't need to access the airfield, according to the city of Olive Branch.
Large corporations in the greater Memphis area will be able to take advantage of the more flexible fueling hours.
"Some of our large Fortune 500 companies will fly in and out," said Adams. "Mueller Brass is one that has their aircraft here. Some other corporations headquartered north of the state line have their corporate jets here."
The project has to be complete in 24 months, according to Adams.
"We expect work to begin shortly after calendar year 2022 starts," said Adams.
Adams said the airport will be able to continue operations during the upgrades.
"Besides our corporate customers, two flight school operate out of the airport and we have the Civil Air Patrol," said Adams. 'Any of those groups could need fuel anytime of the day or night."
In other economic news, 84 acres of land are set to be developed at I-22 (former Hwy/US 78) and MS 305 (Cockrum Road).
The planned mixed-use development is proposed to have a Silo Square type layout with a town center concept, green way, space for retail, residential, multi-family and senior living.
The land is adjacent to Olive Branch's park trail system, one exit north of Methodist hospital.
Adams said the development was called the Cascades.
"This is going to be a game changer for Olive Branch," said Adams. "Between that and the Old Towne (Cotton Gin) development that's gaining traction to take off, it's going to be some great things."
Adams said the two developers are local and grew up in Olive Branch.
"MDOT is going require them to do certain things because of Highway 305," Adams said. "At least another entrance, they might have to do a dividing wall of some type with the traffic and from a safety standpoint."
Adams said a green way is planned that would span underneath highway 305 and connect with the Church Road soccer fields.